Show Notes: An Expert’s Perspective on Workplace Violence Prevention with Hector Alvarez MSPsy, CTM | Episode #23


In this next episode I was honored to be joined by Hector Alvarez MSPsy, CTM. He’s a leader in workplace violence prevention who has extensive experience supporting clients across industries when it comes to behavioral threat assessment, workplace training, and more. Currently, he’s the President of Alvarez Associates LLC where he helps clients with these challenges. Plus, he’s a Reserve Police Officer with Folsom Police Department in northern California.

He’s earned his master’s in forensic psychology from Grand Canyon University and holds the Certified Threat Manager Certification from ATAP. Some of the topics we covered that I think you’ll find interesting include: Hector’s path to developing his expertise, how his experience as a reserve Police Officer and his experience in grad school have made him better at serving his clients, and his advice for aspiring practitioners.

Big Ideas from This Episode

  1. Hector expressed the need for a more respectful and civil approach to interactions at the workplace and elsewhere. He believes that fostering civility and kindness can contribute significantly to security and overall harmony.
  2. One of the great challenges in workplace violence prevention is creating an environment / organization that makes it easy for people to report threat information. This is a combination of educating people on what types of (pre-incident) behaviors to report, how to report it, who to report it to, and having the trust of employees that the organization will act on the information.
  3. Hector lists three main impediments to reporting threats: organizational structure, lack of confidential reporting systems, and poor skills among those tasked with receiving such information.
  4. Hector offers advice to young professionals interested in working in workplace violence prevention and training. He suggests focusing on one lane at a time, such as corporate security, IT, or behavioral threat assessment, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the various opportunities and complexities in the field.
  5. In discussing the competencies needed in workplace violence prevention, self-care and awareness are emphasized due to the potential emotional toll of handling violent cases and disturbing content.


Use CONTROL + F to search the transcript below if you want to learn more!

Transcript from this episode

*Note: this transcript was generated using automated software, and may not be a perfect transcription. But I hope you find it useful.

Travis  0:00  
Welcome Hector, I've been really looking forward to this conversation. Because recently, I've been trying to get out there and talk to more people working in workplace violence prevention. For example, I talked recently with Sean Aaron's about the research that him and some of our peers did around employee involuntary separations and terminations. Plus, I had another conversation with Jameson Ritter, who leads one of the Midwest a tap groups. So this is a, this is a topic I'm really interested in. And I know others out there would like to learn more for those that want to be involved, or those that just want to be more educated. So Hector, thank you very much for sharing your time today and joining this conversation to talk about the work that you do.

Hector  2:13  
Yeah, that sounds great. Travis, I'm really excited to have a chance to chat about this.

Travis  2:17  
Excellent. So Hector, to kick things off, I'd like to start out with a with just a hypothetical, to get a view for how you view things and how you think about the solutions that you bring to your clients. Okay, that sounds good. So imagine that, I imagine that I have the power to give you a magic wand. And this magic wand gives you the ability to change any one thing about the security and risk industry. For you. If you had that power, what would you change? And why? What comes to mind for you,

Hector  2:51  
you know, for me, what comes to mind with all the work and all the research and everything we do and better understanding threats and better understanding security protocols. For me, the one thing I'd like to change is, is the environment that that makes people struggle or hesitate to come forward. Because that that seems to be the biggest challenge we have is not that we can solve the problem. It's a very often we don't know there's a problem. And if there's one little nugget that I'd focus on, it would be that environment that makes it easier for our folks to come forward.

Travis  3:28  
Yeah, that's a really interesting topic that also Jameson brought up when we were talking about his organization. And for you, like what typical impediments Do you see, and in some of the organizations that you work with, that might prevent someone or just inhibit them from coming forward and sharing information?

Hector  3:50  
You know, sometimes it's it's just structure, you know, they're either they work a second or third shift. And there's nobody to go talk to. Sometimes it's it's technical, that they don't have a confidential reporting hotline. And other times, it's more skill based in that the person who's receiving the information, is not skilled, just doesn't do good intake, and can actually dissuade an employee from coming forward, you know, a manager who doesn't know how to do the intake, can really put a damper on people coming forward.

Travis  4:26  
That makes a lot of sense, just having, I guess, to a degree, it's kind of like just awareness training and understanding the reporting structure, the way the process itself, and then really also, like those behaviors or those indicators that they would want to bring forward to their manager or, or whoever, whoever is next in line for that flow of information. Exactly. Exactly. And Hector, I was curious, could you share a little bit about the role that you play today with your company?

Hector  4:58  
So today, what What I do now, you know, I was private sector for as long as time I'm a consultant now, and I'm a consultant just to a broad range of customers, both private and public. And what I do is I serve the role of helping people understand this dynamic of workplace violence, what it is, how it occurs, and then what to do if there's a concern. So we kind of guide employees, employers through that entire process.

Travis  5:27  
I see. So like in a, I guess, for some of your typical projects, what would those What might those entail when it comes to you educating those clients?

Hector  5:38  
Yeah, three, three specific projects. One, we do a vulnerability assessment of the program. It involves some site assessment, but it's really about their workplace violence prevention program, from policies to practices, some site security awareness, and that's one of our products, we give them a narrative report back on, on where they're at just from an assessment perspective, we do kind of quite a bit of training to staff once they realize what they need, or where there's a gap. And to help better understand and it's everything from the awareness piece on workplace violence, to interacting with each other in the public. And then kind of rounding out our services, we do what's called behavioral threat assessment. So between me and somebody that folks have working with us, if there's a concern of inappropriate behavior, concerning behavior are a threat, we step in and help assess the seriousness and credibility, and then work with them to come up with a management strategy.

Travis  6:38  
Yeah, and behavioral threat assessments, definitely a topic I want to get to you further on in the conversation, and also the CTM. Because I know other listeners are interested in exploring that if they're, if they don't already have the set of books in front of them and on their calendar. So we'll definitely get to that topic. And next, I wanted to see, could you share a little bit about what early influences got you on track to working in workplace violence prevention?

Hector  7:08  
Yeah, you know, I, throughout my career, I just had the opportunity to always work at fairly large companies that were just starting out that so they were well funded, they had a lot of influence a lot of impact. I, you know, I started my professional career at Dell computers, when, you know, there was just I think, above 1000 employees. And I got to see it grow quickly. But there was a lot of incidents, I worked in the security team, a lot of incidents with employees, there was a retail center at the at the time, and that added another component, and it just kind of stuck, I just really liked the idea of trying to understand, you know, why one person would want to hurt another. And it just continued, and then routed out my career, working for a national critical infrastructure. And again, because it was it was so visible and so public, a lot of opportunities to interact with the public and our employees. And it was like going to a threat college, because there were just so many unusual incidents, and it just stuck. Oh, that's

Travis  8:11  
really interesting to work with such a such a broad group. And I know also, you're a reserve police officer, could you tell us a little bit about that, and maybe even some of the benefits that you find in terms of how that how that just informs your perspective working in a corporate security environment?

Hector  8:32  
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I had the opportunity at my final job with the National Security National Infrastructure organization, to put myself the academy and then work as a reserve in my local community. And you're right, what it did was, give me this perspective on the roles of people interacting with the community is a bright line, you know, is the law broken or not? Where a lot of time on the corporate side, we work with influence, and it can be a little muddier, a little grayer. And that combination of you know, law enforcement, and then private sector security really blended. I know, for me personally, having that that law enforcement, that tactical side, certainly helped out as the security significance of where I worked, increased. And I was I was there across the 911 period. I was there across the white 2k kind of crossover. And it just kept getting more and more significant.

Travis  9:32  
Yeah, that's really interesting. And that's something I've thought about too, when it comes to reserve officers, because I've noticed a number of people that are working in security consulting or similar roles. They tend to be active in their communities and even work as reserve officers. So I think that's something that some of our listeners can also explore too, when it comes to just further developing their security skills and just broadening the way that they think about about security. In the workplace, and then outside throughout their communities, too. So I hope people can look into that as well.

Hector  10:05  
I think so too, and especially, you know, let's call it the phase we're at right now with law enforcement, we have to use a lot more influence, you know, versus authority, the whole, the whole notion of do it, because I said, doesn't work anymore. And so the level of education, the level of community interaction is really highlighted. When you're a police officer,

Travis  10:30  
yeah, I can definitely see that. And then, especially today, as you know, we see so many law enforcement organizations that are struggling to recruit, or maybe they just have less, I guess, like less influence in their communities, that also makes corporate security and private security so much more important, because it's kind of filling a gap where law enforcement may not be depending on some, some cities and some counties,

Hector  10:56  
exactly. You know, it's, it's a, it's a, it's a game of patience. You know, unfortunately, as we see, you know, in the aftermath of any, you know, major violent incident, there, there almost seems to be a universal cry for, you know, more enforcement, more structure. And so it it, it ebbs and flows, and it's that maturity of being able to work with your community in the way they needed to be supported, from time to time. And that varies. It's not always the same.

Travis  11:26  
Right? Yeah, that definitely changes with, with the environment, with the political environment, and so many other things. And continuing the conversation on a little bit. I think we've touched on this to a degree, but can you talk about what your career path looked like leading up to today? For example, did you? I don't know, did you graduate from school, and then immediately start working in workplace violence prevention? What did your career path look like?

Hector  11:54  
You know, it's interesting, I kind of grew into it, I got out of the Navy went right to work in corporate corporate security. And then I worked full time for awhile, and I started putting myself through school. So I finished both my bachelor's and master's while working full time, in addition to kind of squeezing in there going through Academy and getting that work. But the the final company I worked at, and I was there for about 15 years, the significance was so large, and the security, that the security requirements are so significant, that I had the opportunity to take a lot of additional training, you know, the Gavin de Becker Advanced Threat Assessment Academy was part of it that shaped it, a whole bunch of just, you know, research projects and initiatives, and then our own work. And so my career path was a combination of education and experience. You know, we had our behavioral threat assessment team internally. Let's call it 20 years ago, now, I mean, we set it up for a while. So it's a lot of on the job training, and then academic work to get to the point where I feel comfortable helping guiding people through situations.

Travis  13:03  
Yeah, and I feel like that's the absolute best way to go about it. I feel like to some degree, it's easy if we get into if we get into some of these high demand roles, just to be sucked into all of our daily tasks, and maybe not pay attention to outside education. But when we do find stuff, when we do find time to work on these projects, like similar to you, I just recently did a master's in Applied Psychology at USC. And being able to do that program simultaneously while I'm working. It just makes you absorb the information so much better, because you have so many tangible examples that you're seeing in the workplace day to day today that relate back to these, you know, theoretical lectures and research papers that you're reading in class. So it just makes the information stick so much more. And then plus, you get some cool opportunities to do. I don't know, maybe like research for a thesis, where you're doing like very meaningful research that relates back to security, to kind of inform your organization or inform the community that you could share your research with. So I'm definitely a giant proponent of of pursuing additional education when he could find time for it.

Hector  14:17  
I completely agree. You know, I think we've all taken training from, you know, somebody who's teaching, you know, the same thing they've been teaching for for decades. And it's it's never been updated. And I think both sides, academia, and then the corporate world security. I think both can move slowly in their own ways. And leveraging both experience and research and combine them I think are extremely, extremely useful approach.

Travis  14:46  
Yeah, and then today, there's so many opportunities for really any educated person or any person that's passionate about a topic to develop training resources, whether it's something they share for free online, or whether they develop their own small course. CES. So it's awesome that there's such like a broad range of topics out there that we could explore. And then you have so many, so many diverse contributors for as well. So that's that part is pretty exciting.

Hector  15:11  
Yeah, it's been fun to watch.

Travis  15:12  
It really has been. Yeah. And then next, I wanted to ask you, so along this career path over the last 2030 years, are there any failures or apparent failures that you had along the way? That really, I don't know, that had a positive impact that helped you grow professionally? And personally? Are there any that stand out to you?

Hector  15:34  
Oh, there's, you know, I think the you know, as I teach a class, any class, I tell my students that a lot of the advice that I'm giving them, a lot of the recommendations come from mistakes that I've made in my career, and several stand out. But you know, one that stands out, most recently, probably in the last four or five years, I was supporting a client, with one of our employees who was involved in a very, very serious domestic violence situation. And one of the recommendations I made was, we were going to switch locations, she was going to go to a location that had more security, had barricades, much more control. And she agreed. And it wasn't until after about a week, she came forward to us and said it was really, it's caused her some hardship. She rode the bus to work. And the new location added about an hour onto her commute in the morning. She wasn't able to drop off her daughter like she was, but she didn't want to say anything in the beginning. And shame on me. I didn't ask, you know, we, I just assumed that it was for her benefit. And, you know, making sure we take action on somebody even positively to understand the impacts is something that I will never forget to ask. And we took care of it right away. And she was appreciative. But I should have known better.

Travis  17:01  
Yeah, that's a good point. And I think one of the things that gets back to, which is, I think it's kind of like a overlooked skill insecurity. But it's just being able to interview and facilitate discussions and ask the right questions when it comes to the people that we're serving, and kind of understanding things from their perspective, whether that's a client, when we're talking about workplace violence, whether it's an end user, when we're talking about security technology that we're deploying, or when we're changing a process and an organization. I think it's definitely a very good skill and highly important to us when it comes to being able to ask the right questions and elicit information so that we could better understand the people that we're supporting, and how our solutions might impact them as well.

Hector  17:46  
Yeah, I mean, it's a, that's hugely important. I mean, a lot of times, the people that we work with, they're exploring, they don't understand, or they or they have an idea, and they're exploring that idea. And I think it's really important that we write, we kind of guide them through that journey. And it's important that we give that perspective. And I think that's one of the things that being outside should allow us to do is, you know, give that third party perspective, a little removed from the situation. And it's a very important skill to have.

Travis  18:21  
Right? That's, that's very true. And then even being that third party can also create challenges too, because I've definitely seen instances where maybe a third party, like a consultant is coming into an organization and then people in the organization, maybe they're hesitant to share information to. So I think another big part is also just developing those relationships and building trust so that we could better serve them as well, because it can be very complex and like a typical corporate environment. Oh, yeah,

Hector  18:50  
in a lot of our consulting engagements, that's one of the first things we have to overcome is people feeling like they're being judged. People being defensive and not opening up. And it takes some time to build this trust and to improve that relationship. So that they do feel comfortable and know that we're on their side.

Travis  19:10  
Yeah, there's definitely a whole skill set around interviewing and developing trust. And next, so there's lots of young professionals listening today. And for those that would be interested in pursuing a similar path to you for working in workplace violence prevention and training. What advice would you have for someone like that?

Hector  19:33  
You know, I think as you start heading down this path, my advice would be to pick a lane. You know, there's so many, you know, opportunities for learning and for immersing yourself. And I think once you, you see them all it can become overwhelming. So my suggestion would be start on either corporate security to start on the IT side of corporate security To start on behavioral threat assessment, and really get your feet wet, really, I think immerse yourself in that, and then allow yourself to branch off. For myself, my, my Bellwether, the my anchor has always been the workplace violence piece and understanding the four components and the dynamics. And then I've added to that, whether it's physical, physical security, whether it's psychological information, whether it's active shooter response after an incident, but I've always had a fairly narrow focus. And that's worked for me. And that's made it easier to, to really understand my discipline, because I have that path. And so that would be my recommendation is, is pick a lane that you can adjust later as you go through. But I think trying to consume everything at once can be overwhelming.

Travis  20:50  
Yeah, I think that's excellent advice. And I think kind of naturally, sometimes our career paths will evolve in that way where maybe for a certain period, we're focused on investigations, and then another period, we get to work on some of the IT and InfoSec side. And then other times, maybe we get to work in threat assessment and more of the consulting. So I do really like that advice. And then plus, all of these different areas really inform each other over time. Because as you're talking about this, one thing that I'm thinking of, there's one group that I follow pretty closely, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and they do lots of lots of work around digital privacy. And one of the big topics that some of their writers talk about is the use of stalker where where, you know, in like a personal relationship, the husband or wife, or whoever it is, they may upload malware on another person's phone as a means for stalking them. So there's definitely a way where all of these different areas, from InfoSec, to the threat assessment, to corporate security, all of these really work together. And getting, getting experience in each aspect really gives you like a very holistic view where, you know, you're not thinking about it narrowly. From a corporate perspective, you're thinking broader for, okay, how might this person's relationships outside of the workplace and their everyday life? How might those influence their safety and their security. So I really do like that advice when it comes to kind of like picking a lane, even if it's only for a certain period, just to learn as much as you can and gain as much experience as you can before you move on to the next big topic.

Hector  22:31  
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And you know, it. It's an exciting career field, you know, from the outside, I could come across, I could, you know, just gates guards and guns, right. And it's so much more than that. And you're right, you know, I've had multiple cases where our employee has been stalked, and we found their devices on her vehicle, things on the phone. We've had, you know, hacking attempts, we've had people play stuff to lock themselves out or lock the company out of their system. I could go on and on with examples, but your ability to one have that specialty, but have that that broader knowledge. So at least it piques your interest it, it triggers a thought and maybe we have to bring somebody else who's a specialist in that. But you can have that conversation, you can recognize the potential that it's something outside of our original scope.

Travis  23:30  
Yeah, it's fascinating, just how many different areas one topic can cover. Yeah. And continuing on the topic of young professionals. I also wanted to ask, as you see young professionals moving into leadership roles, or even roles where they're supporting someone like you, how do you see the security industry changing? If it changes at all? Like, for example, do you see, I don't know, any unique, unique skills, unique insights that they bring, or maybe even there's challenges that you see with with young professionals. For me,

Hector  24:03  
what I've seen in the security field was a lot of times security had been a must have, it's just a box that needed to be checked. And I think now, it's it's becoming a lot of organizations fairly similar to human resources, and that it's a critical function. And it can help protect the organization, it can contribute directly to the satisfaction of employees. So I think getting a seat at the table. And when I say that, you know, being being a member of the leadership component that derives the direct direction of your organization, is something that I think always exist. And I think recognizing that from the very beginning, that you're, you're one report, could could flow up and eventually be sitting across that table and being looked at. And so I think understanding that dynamic that you have the ability to lead up, as well as to the side and taking that seriously, wherever you at wherever you're at when you start this, this in the industry in this business in this game, it's just recognize how much influence you may have at any point in time and take it seriously, because that opportunity exists.

Travis  25:17  
Yeah, that's a very good point. And definitely working in the security industry, really all the projects that we get to work on, whether we, whether it's something like a whether it's investigative research, and we're putting together a report for a security manager, or whether it's, you know, something small in the workplace, where we're changing a process, updating policy, training employees, all of these really have a far greater impact than maybe we think, you know, while we're walking through some of these tasks, so they definitely have a huge impact. And you also make a good point about how organizations are maturing where the security function is something the same level of influence as an HR or illegal or some of these other functions. I think that's also a good point. Because I think some people, especially younger professionals, as they move into some organizations, or maybe they're just learning about a new organization, or they're exploring potential career opportunities, I think that's one thing for them to think about, too, is really where security sits in the organization, and who the security leader is in the organization. And whether that person is are they at the director level? Are they a, are they an executive who's sitting in all the executive leadership meetings, so that when they need to run up issues they can get in front of whoever the big decision maker is whether that's the vice president or the CEO? So I think that's another thing for young professionals to think about as they're looking at how some of some of those organizations work and

Hector  26:50  
operate. Yeah, absolutely, completely agree.

Travis  26:53  
Now, here's the fun part. So I wanted to ask you about some of the competencies and some of the skill areas that are important when it comes to working in workplace violence prevention. Are there any particular skills that stand out to you or skill areas?

Hector  27:09  
Yeah, so for me, and that, that, I think is a very powerful question. Because again, I focus specifically on workplace violence prevention and awareness. I had done immerse myself in violence, I researched violence, I consume every bit of training, I can and knowledge. And I think one skill that's very important if you start heading down this path, is is to have a self care, awareness. It's very easy to get caught up in everything that were merged, I probably assessed or responded to a little over 4000 cases now of violence across a huge spectrum I've done I've worked probably in the last couple of years, dozen workplace murders, as an expert witness. And you have to be careful. And I think it's that skill, of knowing how to take care of yourself allows you to help take care of those people around you. So self awareness, self care, I think is a very important skill to have in this in this business.

Travis  28:12  
Yeah, and that's definitely something I've seen people talking about more in recent years, especially as I think about corporate investigators, how much disturbing content that they have to review on Twitter, and Facebook, and emails, and all of these different disturbing communications. So I could definitely see that being highly applicable to nearly anyone working in security, because, really, it's almost like working in any emergency room, you tend to see a lot of people when they're not having their best day when someone's in a crisis or when someone's going through an extremely tough time. So I'm glad to see more resources and more of a discussion out there at some of the conferences that we go to when it comes to mental health of those people that are responding and supporting security incidents. So I do really like that topic.

Hector  29:04  
And it just I don't think it's just it's just the violence. You know, at one point in my career, I had to investigate who was a, a close personal friend at work. And that was just internally disturbing. I know others who had to do that as well. Sometimes there's difficult conversations that you have to have. It could come from a lot of places, we've had to do investigations of inappropriate content, on computers, and again, lots of images. So it's a broad spectrum. It's not just violence. It's a really broad spectrum. And it's I think, being aware that we are fragile, that we are human and paying attention to that. And if you think if you start out your career, being aware of that and taking care of it. I think it helps quite a bit as you move forward through

Travis  29:55  
your career. Yeah, mental health and coping. And just recharging and being able to step away from work definitely very important skills.

Hector  30:05  
Yeah, and what you just said right there is very important because some people will, will confuse stepping away and recharging. Stepping away from the thing that drains you does not recharge you. So just going home doesn't recharge you, it literally is a two part piece, I need to disengage from the thing that's draining me. And at the same time, I need to do something to recharge my batteries physically and emotionally. So as you can tell it to me, it's a very big theme. Because I think we have to keep our batteries up.

Travis  30:35  
Definitely. And as someone who's a student of psychology, as someone who's earned a master's in forensic psychology, can you talk a little bit about how that educational program has made you a better practitioner and made you made you able to better serve the communities that you support?

Hector  30:53  
Yeah, I think, for me, the education, you know, as far as I've gone with, with my trying to better understand mental health and mental wellness, it's helped me understand how little I know. And it helps me to not judge to be, you know, very inquisitive in situations, to be patient with people. And understanding that that is part of it. That, you know, very often, in many cases I deal with, somebody brings up a concern of somebody's mental wellness, as being a contributing factor. And the education has allowed me to better explain that it's probably not, or how it factors in a lot of times in my business, I'm not necessarily talking to the person that concern. And so there's this big push this big, almost enthusiasm to label certain behavior. And again, the education I've had, has allowed me to better explain to people the dangers in doing that.

Travis  31:56  
And that kind of reminds me of one of my friends who I was talking to, he was doing a post grad program. And he kind of described it this way. He was like, you know, a bachelor's kind of teaches you how to learn. And then doing a master's really gives you a little extra support. But people tend to think that you're like a incredible subject matter expert on all things, but really kind of like opens up your eyes to all the things that you need to explore in the future. And then, of course, it also gives you some really valuable tools they could use in the workplace, where you have the terminology and the language to apply to the different situations that you're seeing. And then you could use those to inform your assessments, your recommendations, and just be really just help our clients make the absolute best decisions when it comes to staying safe and decreasing the risk.

Hector  32:48  
Yeah, and I also tell you that just you know, having completed a master's, it helps me better understand research, I look at a research paper or paper or effort or initiative, and better understand now what it says is that I didn't realize how little I understood it until I learned how to interpret research. So that's been a big help. And I really value and leverage the work that other people do.

Travis  33:13  
Yeah, I like that point, too. Because, yeah, just being forced to have to comb through research and understand it better and use that for other research that we do, it definitely does give you a stronger understanding for like, let's say, you go out and you read one of these New York Times best selling books about violence or mass shootings, it really helps you better understand the background of how they're collecting the data, and maybe some of the shortcomings and some of the critiques. So I definitely do really like that aspect as well. I think that's a great point. And I know you also did the certified threat manager course, I wanted to ask you, so for the course, what did you What are your big takeaways, for those out there that are considering taking that course? What What can you tell them about it?

Hector  34:04  
So I can I can tell you that? I think it's intended to be a a test of your knowledge across some very specific areas. And it's meant to tap to test the quality of your knowledge. And it's tough. I mean, I think it's important, there's a body of knowledge, I think it's really important to, to go with that body of knowledge. Because it hits multiple areas, across academia touches a little bit on legal stuff, a little bit about the practice of doing the assessment, but I think it is a check mark, as you go through that you have that that comprehension of this, this base of knowledge that you need to do the work. At the same time, I think it's a foundation. So it's a very useful foundation. It's a very significant accomplishment. And I think even just pursuing it just going through and getting the body of knowledge and, and reading the books, you know, reading the literature, reading the different material that's highlighted that is an extremely powerful education process. For somebody who's getting into this business, even if you don't pursue the CTM. I think the pursuit of the CTM is, is a powerful learning tool.

Travis  35:21  
Yeah, I like that advice. For me specifically, I haven't taken the CTM I think I got the entire booklets from the a tap website, and I have all of them. I've read about, I don't know about 50% of the material. But for me, it was just really insightful. Everything from snakes and suits to some of the more dense academic readings, I found them all to be really interesting and just kind of revealed to me real reveal to me like all of the different topics that I need to explore further, and like some of those, some of those weak areas for me, so I know which areas I can continue to improve on. So I definitely recommend people go check out a taps relate reading list for the CTM and at least dive into those books at a minimum, because so many of those topics relate back to all security work in general.

Hector  36:13  
Completely agree I could not agree more.

Travis  36:15  
Yeah. And actually speaking of books, Hector, are there any books that you've tended to recommend the most over the years, whether it was something that you recommended to fellow consultants, or maybe some of the people that you serve?

Hector  36:30  
Yeah, there's two. And there's one that I can't remember who handed to me in the very beginning of my career. But it's the gift of fear by Gavin de Becker as a foundational book, and I think it really, for me, it kind of helps you explore intuition, how we apply it, how we trust it, sometimes while we don't. It's got a little bit of the practice, you know, he's got a business side of it, and they walk through the technical side of their business. But I think it's a real good foundational book, and that that's probably the one that I recommend, first, I follow that, that book second with Blink, which I think gives another perspective on how we interact with society. And then, you know, I will start grabbing books from my shelf that are off that, that, that list, that a tap put out. But for me, if you've had no exposure into security, and you haven't done any of the work, and you're in any way, doing some type of protection of it physical, whatever it may be, I think the gift of fear is a great foundational book.

Travis  37:32  
Yeah, I really liked both of those recommendations. Blink, I haven't read yet. I've read a couple of other Malcolm, Malcolm Gladwell books. And I do enjoy his books, because they're so broadly applicable to really all industries. So that's one I will definitely have to check out. And then gift, a fear I really like to And one interesting thing I feel like one of the powerful aspects about gift of fear is that it's kind of a book that's just spread across the entire culture in the US. I don't, I forget how it became popular. I think maybe Gavin de Becker was on Oprah. But I know they're, they're like a handful of other like public figures, whether they're in music, or in film, that have also advocated for some of their followers, and, and some of their readers and listeners to also read that book. I think that's been really powerful, too. Like to give one quick example. Back in the day, when I was working at Disneyland, I was talking with one of my fellow cast members, and we're working in food service. And she wasn't someone who stood out to me as someone who was like, very interested in security, all of her interests were very different. But then after talking to her, I realized, Oh, she's read the gift of fear. And she's read several other books. And it was all because I think John Mayer, or another musician had recommended that their female fans read it. So I think it's just so interesting how that book has been able to just like spread itself throughout a US culture and become and become so popular. And the ideas in the book are excellent. They're all very broadly applicable. And it gives you like a handful of principles that really any everyday person can follow when they're going through their day to day and they're interacting with strangers. So I absolutely love that book.

Hector  39:20  
Yeah, and what's interesting, you know, I, I've never and that's a strong word. But I've never in all my years of law enforcement ever talk to somebody who was the victim of crime, especially the violent crime, who didn't know ahead of time that something was gonna happen in every case. They felt something beforehand, they smell they heard they had some sensation. It's an extremely, extremely powerful sensation, this dynamic of intuition. And I think the gift of fear does a good job of exploring why the heck we can't listen to it or why we talk ourselves out of it. I think that's what's unique about it. I think we know we've had that sensation. It's understanding why is it so hard to listen to it some times and I really think that's the journey that this book helps people better understand.

Travis  40:04  
Yeah, that's a really powerful idea. It's so simple, but it can absolutely save lives. Now, as we wrap up the conversation, I want to see, are there any other topics that you wanted to explore? Or any other ideas that you wanted to share today?

Hector  40:21  
You know it yes, you know, and it is interesting. I don't know where it was at maybe halfway through my career, I started looking at the messages that I was sharing, and it was the awareness what to look for, what to do it who to tell, we started getting a lot into the response, the act, the threat response, and again, it was what to look for, you know, what you know what to do after the event. And I realized that there's a real opportunity that, that I thought, and still think is being missed. And it's how we interact with each other. And in the latter half of my career, what I really focused on is, between each other, setting boundaries, being respectful, and overall, just just kind of figuring out a way to be nice, bringing civility, back to our interactions. And I think it may be first discussion, it can sound counterintuitive to security. But I think it's gonna be really important as we move forward, and we, we consume all this news of everything that's happening, I think, you know, being on a mission to just, you know, do something nice, every single day for at least one person, I think will start to turn this tide. And that's really something I'm on right now. I really think it's important that we're better to each other.

Travis  41:39  
Yeah, that's a great point. And I think I forget who it was, I think I was listening to an interview with Lex Friedman recently. And he was just highlighting the point of, in all of these day to day interactions we have, whether it's with our family, whether it's at work, just trying to assume positive intentions when we have some of these interactions, because, yeah, it's definitely the culture is kind of in a way right now, where it's easy for people to blame each other or judge each other based on whatever it is whether it's personal, whether its political, whether it's their philosophy. So I think in the end, it kind of just boils down to you trying to assume positive attention, positive intentions for those people that we're interacting with and trying to assume the best even though insecurity that may be a little more difficult, maybe it goes against some of our training of being like a little skeptical. But yeah, that was just something that stands out to me.

Hector  42:33  
Yeah, even even the take of expecting the best. I've applied that approach both in my personal my professional career, and even my law enforcement career in that I expect, the people that I interact with would not hurt me. And everything they do, that will give me a different picture. I take that in consideration. But I don't start out the other way. I don't expect everybody to hurt me. And then they have to prove to me their intentions are good. So I do have a security mindset, I am aware. But everybody starts with a baseline of everything's okay. And it's the interactions and the responses. And I think what's important to us is that we interact with those around us, you know, a good morning, hello, nod. And if you do it all the time, you start to expect a certain response of some range of some range. And it can help I think better take the temperature around you of how the people are behaving, how they're going to respond to you. And I think we're more safe by interacting with the world around us than less safe.

Travis  43:39  
Yeah, and I think that gets back to some of the topics that we talked about earlier, which was developing trust and developing relationships with the community that we're serving. So really having more civility, they're having more having just deeper connections and deeper interactions there. It also helps so much of the work that we do in security, because like we talked about the process of reporting information up the chain, so that we can, you know, take so that we can implement security solutions or so that we could take action on a particular idea or situation, it really all does come back to those connections and being able to encourage a flow of information. So I see that having many benefits.

Hector  44:24  
Yeah, absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Yeah.

Travis  44:26  
Hector, I really appreciate you sharing your time with me today. We covered some really interesting topics, everything from your education in forensic psychology, we talked about the CTM, your recommendation when it comes to, to those aspiring practitioners picking a lane to focus on while they develop their education and their perspective. So yeah, we touched on some really interesting aspects. And Hector, I'm very grateful for you to share your time today, and to help inform some of those aspiring practitioners out there. I'm very grateful.

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